This story is a great example of not only how monkeys and humans are influenced by social cues, but of how you can do behavioral research outside of a laboratory. The researchers learned this information, not by putting monkeys in cages, but by going to their natural habitat.
We may not like to admit it, but as social creatures, we are highly influenced by what others do. Why do particular food trends come and go? Why do we wear particular styles of clothing? Many people base their own behaviors on what’s perceived to be trendy, popular or “normal”. When celebrities go vegan, it is a win for the animals, not just because one more person has decided to stop contributing to animal absue, but because they make being vegan more “in style”.
This study also adds to the wealth of information of how similar monkeys are to us. What we still need to learn is an animals value shouldn’t be based upon their similarity to us, or their perceived intelligence. Chickens, cows, pigs, etc are just as important and deserving of life as monkeys, whales, dolphins, seals, and elephants.